Brand Identity Crisis – Do What You Say You Do

Posted on: July 21st, 2013 by Gina Trimarco 2 Comments

false advertisingBy Gina Trimarco Cligrow

You’ve all heard of “truth in advertising”, right? If you visit the Federal Trade Commission’s website you’ll read:

When consumers see or hear an advertisement, whether it’s on the Internet, radio or television, or anywhere else, federal law says that ad must be truthful, not misleading, and, when appropriate, backed by scientific evidence.  The Federal Trade Commission enforces these truth-in-advertising laws, and it applies the same standards no matter where an ad appears – in newspapers and magazines, online, in the mail, or on billboards or buses.”

“No matter WHERE an ad appears” – let’s review that for a moment. What if YOU are the “where”, which frankly you are! The #1 place your ads run are with you and how you present yourselves. You are your own walking billboards, newspaper ads, television commercials, Facebook ads, etc. Everything you do and say both professionally and personally represents what you are selling and what you stand for regardless of your jobs, titles, etc. So, whether you work for yourself or someone else, you have the heavy responsibility of carrying your company’s message as well your own personal message.

Here are some examples of what I’m talking about that recently triggered the writing of this blog …

  • If you’re an Avon or Mary Kay representative you should probably be wearing make-up (specifically your brand’s) in public.
  • If you’re a health/fitness coach you should probably be fit and healthy or if you’re a doctor preaching “you need to lose weight” you should probably not be overweight.
  • If you’re a lawyer you should probably not break the law.
  • No matter where you work/volunteer you should probably not bash your company in social media or even face-to-face with friends/family. While you think you’re making your company look bad, which you are, you’re also making yourself look stupid for still working somewhere that you hate and can’t stand behind.
  • If you drive a branded company vehicle or are out in public during off hours in a company branded shirt you should probably be as professional as possible and avoid things like public intoxication/obnoxious behavior or being parked at places that could harm your company’s reputation.
  • If you overtly call yourself a Christian, you should probably behave like one. And if you have the Christian fish symbol on your car you might not want to exhibit road rage.
  • If you’re a school teacher you should probably know how to spell and do basic math.

My brandYou get the idea, right? If you’re offended by any of these examples you may want to take a deeper look at your personal actions. And I’ve been just as guilty of not representing myself or my company professionally 100% of the time because I’m human and far from perfect. All I’m saying is that we all need to be a little more hyperaware of what we do and say.

Ask yourself if you’re being authentic and truthful and not misleading in everything you do. Would you be in compliance with the FTC if you personally were held to their guidelines? Again, your actions and words not only represent your company’s image; they also represent your own personal brand. You will be judged on that. You may not care about being judged but you most likely care about getting paid and/or making a living and your actions and potential misrepresentation can affect your bottom line. In the words of one of my mentors (Suzanne Evans), “The way you do anything is the way you do everything” and if you don’t agree with this phrase many others do and will perceive you based on this concept.

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2 Responses

  1. So on the mark, Gina! Thanks for sharing this. Sad that so many folks do not get the connection.

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